Minister Akunis Sees Another Normalization Deal Before U.S. Election

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Minister Ofir Akunis. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis predicted on Wednesday that the United States would announce another deal establishing ties between Israel and an Arab or Muslim country before the U.S. election.

“I have a reasonable basis to believe that the announcement will come before Nov. 3 – that, if you’ll permit me, is what I understand from my sources,” Akunis told Army Radio.

In a foreign-policy flourish ahead of his re-election bid, top aides to President Donald Trump this week escorted Israeli delegates to Bahrain and UAE delegates to Israel, cementing Israel‘s new, U.S.-brokered relations with the Gulf states.

Trump signaled on Monday that Washington would remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, stirring speculation that it could be the next Arab country to move closer to Israel.

Akunis said several countries were candidates to normalize relations with Israel. He did not name these, saying that it was “customary” to let the first official word come from Washington.

“I will be very happy if the announcement will happen – and before the elections in the United States,” he said.